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Nassau County officer accused of molesting woman in car

Kristin Thorne reports from Hewlett.
October 21, 2013 5:19:41 PM PDT
A woman claims she was molested by a Nassau County police officer in the back seat of a squad car as another officer drove.

The woman says the officer who sexually abused her is still on the job. Now she's fighting back with a lawsuit.

She was arrested in Island Park and was handcuffed at the time of the alleged assault.

"I think a lot of women suffer this kind of abuse in silence and I'm not one of them," said the alleged victim, Jenny Hannigan.

She says she's fighting back, not only against police officer Gary Zima but against his superiors.

"I never thought something like would happen when I was in the custody of the police whom I have always trusted," she said.

It was back in 2011 in Island Park. Police pulled over Hannigan for suspicion of DWI. She says officer Zima sat next to her in the back of the patrol car.

She says while she was handcuffed Zima sexually abused her. Hannigan is also suing police officer Rachel Miller, who was driving the car.

"I was visibily trying to make eye contact with her and felt like she was purposefully not paying attention to what was going on in the back seat," Hannigan said.

Hanningan immediately filed a report with Nassau County Police Department's Internal Affairs. They found the allegation, "undetermined."

However they acknowledged that Zima accessed Hannigan's record, got her cell phone number and texted her days after the incident. He asked her how she was doing. She didn't respond.

"Officer Zima had the opportunity to rectify this mistake and to come forward and apologize and we wouldn't be here," Hannigan said.

The Nassau County police department wouldn't respond to this, saying they don't comment on ongoing litigation.


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